For adults, staying at home can be a challenge, but for youngsters, it can be even harder. Making full use of outside exercise time to tire them out and keep them fit is essential, but what you find outside can be put to good use inside. Our Features Writer Rob Bullock has some tips.
If you have a garden, why not use it as an exciting, interactive classroom, your very own forest classroom. Why not monitor all the animal activity? Which birds are coming and going, study which eat what food? What small mammals are in your garden? At the moment, your garden is a really busy place for the animals who either live there or just pop in and out. There is so much to discover. Why not get your children to keep records. They could even make charts!
RSPB Leighton Moss is currently closed but you can enjoy getting close to nature wherever you live, sign up for FREE here: https://tinyurl.com/ybc2b38s and have a go at some brilliant RSPB Wild Challenge activities!
Check out the local Little Zoo that comes to you, for online videos and worksheets. HERE
Study the stars!
At night, your forest classroom can turn into your own observatory, using a smartphone, you can look at the night sky and see what stars are visible and where the planets are. Look at the moon and learn about the cycles of our own natural satellite. If you have some binoculars or a telescope, then that’s great, but you don’t need them. Just use a smartphone and one of the many apps that are available for free, and you might have a budding astronomer on your hands!
Find out what stars are in your night sky HERE
Stay fit and active
We certainly don’t want our children turning into couch potatoes, checking the contents of the fridge every five minutes and becoming inactive. All the family can join in online with PE with Joe.
Cosmic Yoga – Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation for kids. Interactive adventures which build strength, balance and confidence – and get kids into yoga and mindfulness early!
Try Zumba Kids HERE
Bike rides to keep fit close to home once a day are still currently permitted.
Read a book or two!
This is a brilliant time to encourage your children to read a book or two, or three! With plenty of time on their hands and schools eager to help, why not spend some time reading. If you set an example by, perhaps, having a reading hour each day this will encourage your children to read more.
Every day at 11am, you can listen one of David Walliams‘ World’s Worst Children stories, so sit down, take a break, and enjoy 20ish minutes of pure fun! HERE
Reconnect with old TV shows
If you carefully consider what you want your children to watch then, the television can be a brilliant learning resource as well as something to help children relax after homeschooling and bring families together. With hundreds of channels available these days, why not introduce them to some of the shows you watched and loved when you were younger. At Christmas, my wife and I introduced my granddaughters to ‘The Good Life’ which they loved.
Bring the outside in
At the moment everyone needs to make full use of any outside exercise time we have, especially children, and as well as tiring them out and keeping them fit and healthy, you can also incorporate learning. I bet we all recall being at primary school and going out for nature walks? And, as long as you keep more than two metres away from other people, you could look for items, leaves, acorns, small sticks, seeds to use to create original pieces of art when you get home.
Baking is a great way of spending time with children, its fun, educational and tasty!!! Chocolate concrete is always a favourite! RECIPE HERE
Get growing in the garden!
With plenty of time at home, it is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to gardening, whether it be seeds, beans or vegetables. Grandparents are a great resource for information over the phone and will love sharing their knowledge.
We have a great article about growing carrots HERE
TV as a learning resource
When you were growing up, do you remember accidentally switching channels and catching a boring schools programme? In the 1970s and 80s that is all there was on during the day, but things have come a long way since then! Now, as a learning resource, the TV is second to none. Being a history geek, I love nothing more than watching documentaries on telly. Watching programmes about history really brings it to life and because there is so much on ‘catch up’. Why not find out what your children have recently studied or are about to study and find a programme about it. But there are not just programmes about history on the telly; there are science programmes, nature programmes, geography shows, how do they do that shows, the list is almost endless.
A list of education TV programmes for children can be found HERE
I am an academic researcher, so I love learning, but there is a time when you just need to get creative, and after filling minds with brilliant facts, why not let your children get crafty. Everyone loves drawing and painting, so why not spend an hour or so each day encouraging your children to create something that will hang on your walls for decades to come! Our granddaughters are busy painting lovely pictures to send to their great-grandma who is isolated in a care home!
Lancaster City Museum have online craft activities for children. Online Pebble Art 7th April & Online Under the ~Sea Crab Challenge. They also have lego challenges online. HERE
People are becoming involved in projects to cheer up their neighbours and the wider community, especially online, so why not get your children to do some rainbow painting? Families have been putting up the colourful creations on their windows to help cheer others up and raise a smile as they spend more time inside. It is also fun spotting them if you go out for a walk!
Join the Lancaster + District Rainbow Trail Facebook Group HERE
Have a go at one of our children’s puzzles:
Keep in touch
Even though families are being kept apart at present, we can all keep in touch. There are so many ways! What’s App, text, email, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Snapchat, Instagram. And remember, getting your children to speak to an elderly relative might be the only human contact they have, so it is important to stay together any way we can.
Don’t let schoolwork suffer
I know that teachers are busy working to make sure our children’s education doesn’t suffer during isolation, sending out lesson plans and learning materials. My stepson is a teacher, and he’s working hard, making sure grades don’t go down. And, by working with teachers, parents will have lots of resources and tips to help the education of their children and keep them busy. So, if you need advice, please ask.
Twinkl not only created home learning and school closure packs, but have also introduced an offer for all of them to be completely free. Whether you’re a teacher, parent or home educator they have put together a simple, step-by-step guide about this offer of help, for you to use. HERE
BBC Bitesize offer learning support online that is matched to the UK curriculum – For primary, secondary and post 16. Beginning Monday 20 April, BBC Bitesize will publish daily online lessons for all ages. We’ll also have a new dedicated TV channel full of learning content, podcasts on BBC Sounds and loads of educational video on iPlayer. HERE
Horrible Histories is a hit with the kids and educational too!
Staying at home with your children might, on the face of it, seem like a challenge, but there is so much to keep them occupied, there is plenty of schoolwork for them to do, gardens to explore and the internet, smartphones and the TV offer brilliant learning resources. But remember to cheer other people up too!